Interview with Denburk Reid: Putting Montreal’s Unsung Heroes Squarely In The Spotlight Where They Belong

Elixir performed at the Montreal Community Cares Foundation Awards Gala. Photo Stephanie Weiner Elixir performed at the Montreal Community Cares Foundation Awards Gala. Photo Stephanie Weiner

The Montreal Community Cares Foundation has not only been doing a whole lotta good for young Montrealers since its inception in 2012, but also makes sure to celebrate those doing something exceptional and positive in their communities. I had the privilege of attending their fifth annual Awards Gala this past week at Club Soda. Let me tell you, the guest and presenter list read like a Montreal media, sports and celebrity who’s who, and the entertainment was out of this world.

Most importantly, each and every award recipient was treated like a movie star on the red carpet and truly honoured for their hard work to help others. Awards were given to individuals and organizations doing everything from human rights activism, empowerment workshops and organ donation awareness to volunteering and fundraising. Check out a full list of award recipients here.

Denburk Reid. Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

Denburk Reid. Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

Denburk Reid is the founder and president of the Montreal Community Cares Foundation, he is also the Community Relations Manager for the Montreal Alouettes. We interviewed via email about the organization and the Awards Gala.

Stephanie Weiner (SW): You started the Montreal Community Cares Foundation because you had been coached/mentored as a youth and wanted to create the same opportunities for others. (That’s awesome!!) Tell me about what is was like for you getting this wonderful project off the ground?

Denburk Reid (DR): Not many youth growing up have a big vision of what they want to be growing up. The MCC Foundation is an opportunity for them to be mentored, to have a positive role model, and to have opportunities to see what they can be. To start this movement was a natural progression. The gala was a beast, though! I got a lot of no’s, people saying “you’re crazy”, but every no I got pushed me to do it. I wanted to say thank you to these mentors, these communities, and these organizations that are getting involved. I thought it was important to encourage them.

Paul Frappier Youth Leadership Award recipients with co-MC Derek Aucoin. Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

Paul Frappier Youth Leadership Award recipients with co-MC Derek Aucoin. Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

SW: In addition to sports and life coaching programs, the MCC Foundation honours local youth and adults who contribute to their community at the Awards Gala, tell me about the 2015 honourees and how they are selected.

DR: The honourees were nominated by their peers online because they are doing awesome and cool things within the community. We selected the top 16, it was so tough! We tried to get it down to 12, but it’s so difficult. We try to touch a little bit of everything, a little bit of all the different fields. The life achievement honourees, they’ve been at it for so long. Their impact on the community is great. We have Otis Grant (Community Organization Award), who’s a former boxing champion and who started his own foundation. Anything you can do to help these kids. Chloé Lanteigne (Student-Athlete Award), she’s great. She raised funds for our foundation by doing a marathon in her neighbourhood. She’s also a basketball player. All of the recipients are so deserving! Even the ones who weren’t selected, they deserve a hand.

Community Organization Award Recipients with co-MC Tara Schwartz. Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

Community Organization Award Recipients with co-MC Tara Schwartz. Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

SW: How do people find out about your programs? How can our readers help/get involved?

DR: On our website! And on our Facebook, we’re starting to be more active there. We have a bunch of volunteers, they all have their own expertise. We have different programs, the basketball one is really popular, there are 130 kids in it. Events like tonight spark awareness and help us get people involved. To get involved, visit the website and contact me. It’s possible to make donations online and get details about our upcoming events if you want to volunteer. Email: info@montrealcommunitycares.com

SW: If you could tell our readers one thing about the MCC Foundation what would it be?

DR: The Foundation is about empowering the youth and bridging the gap between our communities, to bring Montrealers together. It’s a movement, a positive movement. And we need people to help create it.

Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

Montreal Community Cares Foundation Gala. Photo Melissa Martella

 

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